S&C Obtains Sixth Circuit Win for Volkswagen in Dispute with Prevent Group

November 23, 2021

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the dismissal of a major antitrust lawsuit against S&C clients Volkswagen AG and Volkswagen Group of America that was brought by Prevent Group, an international automotive supplier network. The plaintiff had accused Volkswagen of blocking Prevent Group's acquisitions of other suppliers to maintain a “monopsony” in the purchase of automotive parts. 

In a November 8 published opinion, a Sixth Circuit panel unanimously ruled that the case lacks a sufficient connection to the United States and does not belong in U.S. courts. In particular, the court stated that Germany provides an adequate alternative forum for Prevent Group's claims, even if it does not allow for treble damages. The court noted that Prevent Group companies had “already tried and largely failed to win on similar grounds” in German litigation.

The court held that Sherman Act claims can be transferred to foreign jurisdictions, splitting from the Fifth Circuit and joining the Second Circuit. The ruling also marks the first time that the Sixth Circuit has affirmed dismissal of U.S. antitrust claims on forum non conveniens grounds. 

The S&C team representing Volkswagen included Sharon Nelles, who argued the appeal, Steve Holley, Suhana Han, Laura Kabler Oswell, Lenny Traps and Tim Weinstein.